Monday, June 28, 2021

6. The Revelation: It's Essential Nature (Revelation 1:1a)

Many people are fascinated with the future. They faithfully read their horoscopes, seek out tarot-card readers, have their palms read, or consult psychics. All such attempts to discern the future, however, are in vain. God is the only One who knows and declares the future (Isaiah 44:7; 45:21; 46:9–10). Only in Scripture can truth about the future be found. The Old and New Testament writings provide glimpses of the future. The book of Revelation provides the most detailed look into the future in all of Scripture, unveiling the future history of the world, with the return of Christ and His glorious kingdom. Here is a preview of the future timeline of events according to the Bible [Adapted from Paul Benware, Understanding End Times Prophecy (Chicago, Moody, 2006), 201].

John begins his Revelation in 1:1–8 with two major sections. First, he presents the specific characteristics of this unique book (we will cover these in upcoming posts). Second, he provides a preview of the second coming of Christ (which we will discuss later). Let's begin with the characteristics of Revelation.

Many people are confused by the book of Revelation, viewing it as a bizarre mystery. However, far from hiding the truth, the book of Revelation reveals it. It tells how everything ends. Just as the creation account was written in clear detail, God has given a detailed record of the ending. Verses 1–6 provide eleven specific characteristics that reveal the uniqueness of Revelation.

1. Its Essential Nature

"The Revelation..." (1:1a)

The Greek word for “revelation” appears eighteen times in the New Testament. In Luke 2:32, Simeon praised God for the infant Jesus, describing Him as “a Light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” Simeon exulted that the Messiah had been made visible to men. Paul spoke in Romans 8:19 of the transformation of believers in glory as “the revealing of the sons of God.” Both Paul (1 Corinthians 1:7) and Peter (1 Peter 1:7) used the word to refer to the revelation of Christ at His second coming.

Revelation shares several significant divine truths. It warns the church of the danger of sin and instructs it about the need for holiness. It reveals the strength Christ and that believers have to overcome Satan. It reveals the glory and majesty of God and depicts the reverent worship that constantly attends His throne. The book of Revelation reveals the end of human history, including the final political setup of the world, the career of Antichrist, and the final battle of Armageddon. It reveals the coming glory of Christ’s earthly reign during the millennial kingdom, the great white throne judgment, and depicts the eternal joy of the new heaven and the new earth. It reveals the ultimate victory of Jesus Christ over all human and demonic opposition.

Yet overarching all those features, Revelation communicates the majesty and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. It describes in detail the events associated with His second coming, revealing His glory that will blaze forth as unmistakably as lightning flashing in a dark sky (Matthew 24:27).